June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
New Engineering Educators
11.1126.1 - 11.1126.11
Short and Long-term Influence of Excellent Instructors on Graduates in Engineering Technology: a Case Study
A survey asked engineering technology (ET) faculty at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ) to recall the instructor they feel had the most influence on their career/life and indicate the qualities possessed by the instructor and the reasons the instructor was able to so greatly influence them. The objective of the survey is to better understand the long term influence professors can have on their students. In addition, a case study of an excellent instructor is presented. A survey was conducted to solicit opinions on this instructor from graduates of the ET program. Numerous former students have emphasized the significant influence this instructor has had on not only their careers, but also in other aspects of their lives. Results of the survey are summarized and presented. The paper provides ideas for faculty members looking for ways to have significant positive impact on their students that lasts well beyond their college years.
College instructors differ in their teaching styles and motivating abilities. Many instructors influence students’ learning and attitudes during their college years and as they begin their careers (short-term). Some instructors, however, are able to have long term influence on their graduates’ careers and lives that extends well beyond their college experience and initial career choices. When graduates look back at their educational experiences during college, they can usually identify one or more instructors who they view as having significant influence on their lives since college. But describing the unique characteristics of those instructors and how they impacted the professional lives of graduates might be a harder task.
Traditionally, effective teaching has been linked to the long and lasting positive impact of instructors. Three (3) distinct areas were identified as necessary for being “effective” as a professor “Character”, “Competence” and “Connection.” Character involves the personal traits of the professor. Character is manifested in the form of the students feeling very motivated, confident and comfortable with the integrity of the classroom experience and the professor. “Competence”, manifested itself in the form of the professor’s ability to convey the technical content of the material in a way easily understood by the students. The “Connection” category represents the “soft” attributes of the effective professor because they do not deal directly with the professor’s knowledge or ability to convey the material to the students. Rather, “Connection” involves a variety of personal “contact” opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom, which can occur if both the students and professor are open to them. Essentially, “Connection” is relationship oriented invoking a mutual trust, respect, and reverence between human beings.1
Overall competence of the faculty has been listed as a key criterion for engineering and engineering technology programs interested in getting their academic programs accredited. The faculty must be capable of providing students an appropriate breadth of perspective and effective instruction in the use of modern technical and nontechnical methodologies in careers appropriate to the program objectives.2
Murad, M., & Rose, A. (2006, June), Short And Long Term Influence Of Excellent Instructors On Graduates In Engineering Technology: A Case Study Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1195
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